Toronto Food Bank urges Thanksgiving generosity

Toronto's Daily Bread Food Bank expects 600 volunteers to help out this long weekend as it tries meet its Thanksgiving fundraising goal of $400,000 and 400,000 pounds of food.

Spokeswoman Sarah Andersen says spring and fall are the busiest seasons at Daily Bread, and she's hoping this year's food drive will be better after last year's campaign fell short.

The goals are the same as last year's numbers, even though a recent report — Who's Hungry: Faces of Hunger by Richard Matern — says there has been a four per cent increase in food bank recipients over the last year.

The report also indicates an overall increase of 18 per cent in food bank goers in the last four years as more immigrants, new university graduates, and middle-aged people are making use of food bank services.

Andersen says the food bank receives more donations towards the end of November during their annual holiday drive as Christmas approaches, but she says people need the food bank 12 months a year.

"What we are trying to do this Thanksgiving is let people know that there are those who are hungry all throughout the year," she said.

Tanya Gotman, 49, who is working at the food bank, used to be a recipient of food donations after she lost her job as a recruiter after 17 years.

Gotman, a single mother, visited the food bank three times in 2009 to tide her over until she landed a contract job with the same organization that helped feed her son, who was 10-years-old at the time.

"I hate to go there but when you're between a rock and a hard place, you say thank God it's there," she said.

"But then you go home and you think, 'I can actually sleep tonight without having to worry about what's going in my boy's tummy."'

The Daily Bread Food Bank is an organization that provides food for agencies that conduct food relief programs in the Greater Toronto Area. Volunteers will help sort and pack food donations during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Non-perishable food donations can be dropped off at any fire hall or participating grocery store, with baby food, powdered milk and canned fruit and vegetables among the most needed items.

The Thanksgiving food drive runs until Oct. 14.